“Maybe writing children’s books is in your future?”

I got back an assignment the other day…which basically I read the required course material and then wrote a response to it. I think I had to do about 10. I still have this stupid cold so yah….Anyway, so I’m flipping through reading the comments and then I get to the last one:

“You have a very engaging writing style! Maybe writing children’s books is in your future?”

Well…if my professor wants to read my children’s book she’s more than welcome to.

I’m still waiting on the last few illustrations. The original goal was to have everything finished by December but life happens. We’re students. People get stressed and busy and all that. I am willing to wait till these exams are over to get some great art for my book. I don’t think anyone else could’ve captured the character so…perfectly.

In the meantime while I’ve been waiting on that, I’ve also been waiting for my beta readers to give me more updates. So far they like the novel and the feedback has been really helpful and constructive.

I sent all my hand written writing stuff to my parents on the weekend…I have no journals or notebooks or binders. I have my laptop. I can work on the novel I was writing on my laptop I guess. I just really wanna write. What sucks more is that I wanna write some songs but I don’t have my piano or guitar here…and I can barely talk still. My voice is starting to come back a little.

At least I can draw…but my fingers really wanna write.

It’s frustrating.

I still have some homework to get done later this evening so I’ll do some writing tomorrow afternoon instead…hopefully I’m feeling better by then. For now I’m gonna work on getting my energy back up so I can fight this stupid cold.

–R.

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Exams, Illustrations, Teaching and Reading

My exams and my placement are almost finished. I’m definitely going to miss my students over the winter break. I’m trying to think of something nice I can do for them on Friday but because I’m still studying for my final exam I haven’t had much time to do that.

My students discovered that I draw, and so I’ve got a bunch of commissions to finish by Friday. Right now I’m drawing a cat. Maybe I’ll post it when I’m done.

My favourite thing about my placement is that the moment I arrive they’re all excited to see me. That honestly makes my day. I hope in the future when I’m teaching on my own I’ll get that same reaction from my students.

I’ve also been getting a lot of great advice from the teacher I’m working with. The age group I’m with is actually a little older than what I applied to teach but it’s great because I’m learning a lot about myself, and certain things that I need to work on.

As for my exams…well I’m still studying. I’ve gotten a bit of help on some of the stuff I don’t know. I’m not nervous or anything so that’s good. My plan is to just review as much as I can today and tomorrow morning, and just do the best that I can. As long as I do my best, then I have no reason to be nervous. I’ve studied the material, and I tried my best. That’s what matters.

Now, book updates: due to having also having exams, my illustrator for the children’s book is currently on break. We were hoping all the illustrations would be officially finished before December but then got swamped with assignments. So, as of the 18th of December we will get back to work on the illustrations. I’ll also have the rest of my beta readers go through my novel, since I’ll have more hard copies printed off by then. Some people don’t mind it when you send a PDF but eh…there are people like me who like to make notes on the page when reading over people’s work. I’m hoping for some really helpful feedback. I’m hoping to decide on what I’m doing with the cover this week…I think I found a designer who can do what I want. If all goes well the book will be released during the winter time, which would be awesome.

Anyway I’d better get back to reading my textbook here.

Stay golden,

–R.

Hello Nanowrimo/Writing Updates

I will be posting a lot more writing updates this month as it is Nanowrimo (hooray!).

So, for my first update I recently did some character designs for a novel that I’m working on. I’d only attempted to draw these characters once before, which was months ago. I’m definitely satisfied with my current take on them. I actually put them in Halloween costumes since I drew the most recent one near the end of October.

As for my other projects I made the decision to redo the illustrations for my children’s book. This was kind of a last minute decision, but I want to be satisfied with my work and I wasn’t happy with how the other drawings turned out. They didn’t really come to life the way I’d wanted them too. I also am taking a children’s literature course right now, and after looking through a lot of the illustrations in these children’s books I just found that the first ones I did were…almost lazy, and in reality the images should draw more attention…they should be more animated. So, back to the rough sketches for round two. Hoping they’ll turn out the way I want them. Once the illustrations are to my liking, I’ll be publishing.

With the rate I’m going at with my novels, the children’s book will most likely come out first…which is completely opposite of what I thought. Originally the book I’d started like…three years ago, I thought I’d be publishing first. As for the one I did character designs for, I hadn’t even planned on extending it into a novel. It began as a short story. So…sometimes things don’t always go according to plan, but I feel like everything has lined up nicely.

Well, those are my updates for now. More are to come. I don’t know if I’ll post them daily or weekly, but whenever I update I will do my best to inform you all.

It’s midnight, so I’d better go to sleep. I’ve dedicated tomorrow to doing chores and homework before my class…so…yah. Hopefully I can squeeze in some writing while I’m waiting for my laundry but you know…homework is a thing. I have to get it done eventually.

Keep writing!

— R.

AHH! Lot of Homework

Well I’ve got a lot of homework to do this month. Busy, busy.

I am working on a fun little project. Well two actually. If the one project isn’t finished by the time its due I’ll post it online. Its just something extra that I wanted to do for bonus marks but with all the essays, books and assignments I have I’m not sure if I’ll get it finished in time. I’d love to though. I rarely get to hand in my drawings for a project.

I may or may not have my children’s book reviewed along with the rest of my creative writing portfolio. I’ve got a lot of material but its hard putting together eight pieces to showcase. I haven’t done the illustrations for the children’s book yet so that means I may or may not be staying up till odd hours drawing tonight and tomorrow. We’ll see.

Hope you all have a great rest of your week and for anyone else inching towards exams or with a ton of assignments…or just with a lot on their plate right now, we’ll get through this. One step at a time.

Stay golden,

R.

Fourteen Pgs. of Character Notes…And Writing Tips for Detailing Characters!

Fourteen pages of character notes. Wow. I don’t know how that happened but I’m glad it did.

I always try to give as much depth and detail to my characters as I can. I believe that the more I invest in a character, the more attached I will become and that attachment is what makes that character seem more real (that’s a lot of mores). Its great because my characters go from being an idea to becoming like a close, life-long friend (until you know…that scene where they get silenced by the pen aka they die).

It’s a fun process honestly, even though I’ll admit it takes time. Despite the time it takes to do it is a lot more fun than just naming a character and throwing them into your story. A name is only a fraction of a person, there are many other things that make us who we are.

A lot of the time I like to draw pictures of my characters: the facial expressions they might make in different scenario’s, what clothing they might wear, what their hair looks like, their height, the colour of their eyes.

It can be really helpful, but of course I know that not everyone likes to draw. What I used to do on my drawings was create a list beside my character. The list usually looked like…

  1. Name: Bob Robert Bobbinlee
  2. Age: 22
  3. Likes: cows, cats, cookies and cake
  4. Dislikes: anything that doesn’t start with the letter C (is for cookie)
  5. Family: Mama Bobbetta, Father Bobert, Juliettabobo Boblee, Bobafett
  6. Friends: Cookie Monster, Elmo, Pinkie Pie and Ash Ketchum (yes I was talking to my 4 year old niece recently…any watching Pokémon)

What I’ve begun doing now is creating this same list in a table on Microsoft word.

Its pretty easy to do, you just go to insert, then click table…etc.

So now I keep my images and my charts separate, giving me more room to add written details about my characters. This is especially helpful when I have side characters. Usually I don’t know the personality of a side character. Some times I might just have some character who until named is called “Book Store Clerk.” The first thing I like to do is to draw this character out (or imagine what they might look like), then I take that image and I create a detailed character chart, similar to the list above but in chart form…and because it isn’t on the same page as my drawing I can add even more detail.

Using the same example from above:

Name Bob Robert Bobbinlee
Age 22
Appearance Hair: Crimson

Eyes: Crimson

Height: Average

Special Features: Tattoo of the letter C

Personality Hot-headed, sweet-tooth, perfectionist, crazy about cats and cows, creative, incredible cook
Family Mother: Bobbetta

Father: Bobert

Siblings: Juliettabobo, Boblee and Bobafett

Friends Cookie Monster, Elmo, Pinkie Pie and Ash Ketchum

 

Partner (or partners for them playa’s) Cloe Ver
Pet Cactus the Cat and Carver the Cow
Hobbies Reading, eating and baking cookies and cake, chillin’ like a villain with his squad…I mean crew.

 

Occupation/Education Book Store Clerk

 

Fears The letter Z…because he isn’t sure if it should be Zed or Zee even though he’s Canadian. He just…doesn’t know.

 

Dreams Publish a Children’s Cook Book

See, its that simple, and even though some of these details won’t end up being in you story, they are details that are significant to who your character really is. Once you know this much about your character they begin to take on a life of their own, and as an author I have to say that is one of my favourite things that happen while I’m writing.

Whether you like to draw or not, this is a method that I highly recommend. It’s easy to set up and once you get going it can be a lot of fun. Before you know it you’ve got fourteen pages of characters and this amazingly long chart!

Also, if you are a tech-savvy person you can even scan a drawing of your character and place the image into the appearance box on the table. I’ve never done this but I’m definitely going to give it a try. The idea just came to mind.


 

I hope that this post was helpful!

If you’ve never tried to do this sort of detailing with your characters I highly recommend it. Its both fun and rewarding.

If you have any different ways of detailing and developing characters (or you’ve written a post with another writing tip) feel free to share in the comment section. I’m sure, myself and many people would appreciate it!

Happy writing everyone!

— R.

 

Book 12 is Mine!

Yesterday I finally got book 12! After a two year wait…the book is mine.

I also bought my nieces birthday presents. I got her a bunch of books, since she’s in kindergarten and she’s learning to read.

My sister-in-law asked me to do so last time I saw her, since my niece has many, many, many toys.

I’m actually very excited about reading some of the books with her, because I got books that I used to adore as a kid. They made me laugh and the illustrations were fantastic.

I even reread all of them before buying them, just to make sure they were still funny. They were.

I’m so happy I spent the day at Chapters. I mean…now I’m a little behind on my reading for class tomorrow but I was really stressed out with my assignments and needed a break.

Actually I took a break from Saturday to Monday. However it was worth it, I did a lot of new things. Got to know the city better and I met some cool people.

However, I really need to earn some money. Maybe I’ll have a book sale? Sell some books so I can buy some books. I really like books.

I also bought myself a journal because I’d like to get back into telling my own personal story. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll open up one of my old journals from when I was twelve and use it to help my kids, or even the kids I’m going to be teaching through what they’re experiencing. Journaling and blogging are seriously great therapy for me. So is song writing…but yah. It really helps me clear my head.

I’m so glad I have this book now.

Thanks for ordering it for me dad.

— R

First Big Writing Assignment of the School Year…Yikes!

So this week my class is starting our first big writing assignment, which is our short story assignment.

Now I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before on my blog but short stories aren’t my strong point when there is a limit as to the number of pages I can have or the word count. I’m stronger when it comes to novels and writing lyrics. Actually many of my novels have songs written into them so that when they’re adapted into films there will be an awesome soundtrack. I’m being serious. I actually have soundtracks for my novels of songs that I’ve written about characters, chapters and if my character is a musician then I actually record the songs that my characters perform in the text. I go all out. It is not just a book. It is…like…a living breathing thing. I guess that sounds over the top.

My sister thinks it’s kind of cool but she also gets annoyed when I record these songs while she’s trying to sleep. I’ve had things thrown at me and no, I’m not a bad musician. I don’t suck! My sister just has to hear me all the time. We actually write a lot of music together and perform it. I’m teaching her to sing because our voices automatically complement each other. She’s the one person that I enjoy harmonizing with because the sound it makes… I can’t even put it into words. Whenever we sing together and harmonize perfectly off the bat we both react like this

Me: WHOA!

Lil Sis: That was…AWESOME!

Me: REPLAY THAT! REPLAY!

And then we have to stop the recording because we usually interrupt our flow due to the fact that it sounded good. It also has to do with the fact that my sister thinks she’s a horrible singer.

ANYWAY back to talking about the short story thing. So the first big assignment is a short story assignment. It’s a story on whatever I want it to be which is great because I get to be creative with it. However, as I just said short stories aren’t really my go to thing.

I do like to write children’s books but those to me are sort of…well they’re for my nieces age group. That’s who I’m writing for. I write those for her. She’s in kindergarten (age’s 4-6 in Canada).

To me, short stories and children’s literature are in two different sections. Perhaps that’s simply because I separated them in my own head but because children’s books tend to have pictures, are not too lengthy and are geared toward a specific audience I place them under their own category outside of the short story category. Does that make sense? I hope so….

I’m not sure of how I want to approach this assignment. I have readily made written material for novels, however I don’t want to have to convert that material into short story material. It’s almost like…I have to plan out the format based off of the idea and if I’ve already decided on a format that I would like to present my idea in then it’s difficult to change it. I mean… that’s why we have different forms of writing. Not all films should be adapted into novels and not all novels should be adapted into screen plays. They were written a certain way for a reason. Now most books make great films, but of course for those of us who read the book before seeing the film it can be pretty difficult to separate them.

I had an interesting discussion with an upperclassman about it the other week actually. I’ll share that another time though.

Well…as you can see I’m stressing over an assignment that should be fun. Hopefully before I have to bring in my rough notes on Friday, I will have come up with something. I might see if there’s any guidelines for my assignment before I make any notes. My professors are being extremely loose on the formats and guidelines as this is a creative writing course. They’re just awesome like that. They’re really…fantastic. I’m so happy I took this course.

— R.


Yes, that is the Pharaoh. Yes, his hair is pretty awesome. Yes, I do watch LittleKuriboh.

If someone actually styles their hair like this with the different colours and everything that would be really cool. Someone needs to do this. They would look like the coolest kid in all of…well the world. Okay I’m done. Got some writing to do…obviously. Can we just…admire his awesome hair. I always wanted cool hair like that but nope I got stuck with my plain generic black hair. Oh well…I’m thankful I have hair. Better not complain. I don’t wanna go grey early like my dad did. Ha….yah. I love you hair…but still…his hairs so cool.

Lots of Updates!

Tonight I’ll be seeing an author read a bit of his book. I’ve never been to one of these events before so I’m pretty excited. I’ll try to blog about it when I get home tonight but it really depends on how I’m feeling when I get home. I’ve been running around all day so I might just want to go to bed. Actually I currently want to go to bed, but because I need go out for the…what third time today? I guess I should just chill.

In other news, my classes have been excellent so far. Although I’ve only had about one of each class. It’s still been a lot of fun. I’m meeting new people, seeing familiar faces here and there. I’m going to make good memories this year. That’s my goal.

Writing wise I have a lot to do for school. I’m in a creative writing course so I’ll probably share some of the things I’ve written on here (once they’ve been marked and everything…since I use a pen name online). I realized when I moved into my apartment that I had left a chuck of my writing material at home and had only remembered to bring the two binders I had…. which kind of sucks but I’ll get them next time I’m home…or just scan them onto my computer somehow. Oh wait…I took the scanner. I can’t scan them. Well then…this will take some serious planning.

Overall my first week and a bit back at school has been excellent and I’m working to get out there and make memories. Also my apartment is really nice. I realized I’ve been here for almost three weeks…but it only feels like I’ve been here a week. I thought today was the 13th of September, but it turns out that it’s actually the 15th…according to my phone and laptop. This is why I need to put up my calendar. So I can keep track of things. At least I know what day of the week it is.

Hope everyone else is enjoy summers (probably short) comeback. I sure arm. The sun is nice. The sun is out friend. Don’t complain about the nice weather. Thank God it’s not snowing yet and when it snows, don’t complain because at least it’s not over 60 something degree’s (that’s 140 in farenheit…I Googled that for my American followers. I got you. 😛 ). Just embrace the weather…because whether or not you like it (haha see what I did there?), the weather is going to do what it wants. The weather is its own master. Unless you know…this is Sims and you used your Lifetime rewards to buy the weather changing machine.

Okay I’m going to stop talking now and eat cookies…and possibly spoil my dinner.

Enjoy your week!

Writing Update: Online Series Coming Soon!

I’m very happy to announce that after a little more editing I will be posting my first online series. Since it originally started off as a short story for a competition I entered a few years ago, rewriting it was a bit difficult and I’m still trying to work out exactly what direction I want this story to take. However, I’m having a lot of fun working on it!

Stay tuned!

— R.